Figs are one of the easiest trees to grow. Native to India, Turkey, and other Mediterranean countries, they thrive when exposed to full sun.
They are also considered one of the most luxurious fruits in the world because of their delicious, sweet taste.
When to plant fig trees? The best time to plant fig trees is in early spring or late winter, just when the trees are dormant. Wait for the frost to leave the ground to start planting figs. Do not plant in the fall because the root system will not have enough time to grow before the plant becomes dormant in the winter.
Choosing the Right Fig Variety
There are a lot of fig tree varieties you can choose from, and it may seem hard to pick the one that’s right for you.
Most home gardeners only have room for one fig tree, so research all you can about the variety you want to grow.
Listed below are some suggestions that will hopefully help you come up with a decision.
This variety of figs produces only male flowers. They also never bear fruit, and their only purpose is to pollinate female fig tree varieties.
2. Smyrna Figs
This variety of figs only bears female flowers. They need caprifigs to get pollinated and bear flowers.
3. San Pedro Figs
This type of fig produces two crops. One crop does not need pollination, while the other requires one by a male flower.
4. Common Figs
This variety of figs is commonly grown in home gardens, hence the name. They do not need other trees for pollination.
Most figs that need pollination possess an opening that permits a type of wasp to enter the internal flowers.
Common figs do not have this opening, making them less prone to rot.
Here are some common fig varieties:
This variety of common figs is a medium-sized purple or brown fig. Fig fruits produced by Celeste fig will ripen earlier than other fig varieties.
Alma figs bear fruits that have a rich, excellent flavor. Their fruits ripen later in the season.
Brown Turkey Figs
Brown Turkey figs grow a crop of big, delicious figs over a lengthy season. This type of fig has few seeds and very attractive flesh.
D. Purple Genca
Purple Genca is also called Black Spanish or Black Genoa. It is a large variety of figs with sweet and red flesh and is deep purple in appearance.
How To Plant Fig Trees
After deciding on the type of fig tree to grow on your property, visit your local garden center and ask for help.
More often than not, they carry different varieties that grow best in your region.
Step 1: Dig a hole.
Dig a hole using a well-made digging shovel. The hole should be bigger than the root ball or root system of your tree.
It should be at least two times wider than the roots and at least three inches deeper.
Step 2: Spread the roots.
Massage the roots and spread them around, being careful not to damage or break them.
Step 3: Set the tree.
Prepare a mound of dirt in the hole that you dug. You can set the tree at the same soil level that it had in the original pot or set it a few inches deeper.
Step 4: Firm the soil up.
While filling the hole, gently firm the soil around it using your hands or your feet. Try to remove the air pockets, but do not overly compact the soil near the roots.
Make a depression or a slight bowl from the top of the hole to let the water settle. Avoid mounding the soil up around the main stem or trunk.
Step 5: Cut the branches.
When planting bare-root trees, cut the branches of the tree until they are about half of their previous length.
Step 6: Spread mulch.
Spread mulch at the base of the tree to help conserve moisture, control weeds, and add nutrients to the soil as the mulch composts.
When doing this, it’s very important to keep the mulch away from the bark to avoid decay.
Step 7: Water your plant carefully.
Water your new tree carefully. Go as slowly as possible, letting the water get absorbed first before pouring more.
Watering your tree not only nourishes the plant but also gets rid of remaining air pockets or air pockets that have formed as you fill the hole in.
How To Grow and Care For Your Fig Trees
Fig trees do not require extensive care; they will thrive even without much attention.
However, you should still provide the minimum care for your fig trees to grow better and yield more fig fruits.
1. Give them enough sun exposure.
The main thing about fig trees is that they need a lot of sunlight, so always choose a spot that receives full sun.
This will allow your fig trees to produce the highest yield of fruits come harvest time.
2. Plant in the right climate.
Fig trees thrive in locations with long summers and calm winters. In areas with colder climates, you can still grow figs in a greenhouse.
There are also cold-hardy cultivars that you can grow in severe winters; you just need to provide them with effective protection.
3. Choose a well-draining soil
Figs thrive in well-draining soil. Although sandy soil is better compared to clays or loams, you can still expect figs to thrive as long as you have well-draining soil.
If your soil is a bit compact or heavy, you need to loosen it up before planting your seeds.
Soil pH is not as crucial as drainage, but it should not be too low or too high.
4. Regularly water your plant.
For your newly planted fig trees to establish their root systems, you need to water them regularly.
You can also add a layer of mulch surrounding the base of your fig tree to help retain moisture in the soil.
Once the trees have grown, you can water them less frequently.
5. Fertilize your fig tree.
Although fig trees do not require a lot of maintenance and will still grow healthy without fertilizing, you can still boost their growth by feeding them with fertilizer.
Just be careful not to use fertilizers with a high level of nitrogen. These kinds of fertilizers will not enhance fruit development but will promote foliage growth.
6. Prune your fig trees annually.
Fig trees need very little pruning, which is why they are a popular choice for most gardeners.
Still, you need to prune your fig trees at least once a year to make it easier for you to harvest their fruits.
Prune out diseased or dead branches when the tree becomes dormant to improve the health of your fig tree.
4 Major Fig Tree Diseases
Speaking of health, here are four of the most common diseases you should keep an eye out for when growing fig trees:
1. Pink Blight
Most of the time, pink blight affects the insides of overgrown figs.
This fungus appears as a pinkish-white coating on your fig tree’s dead branches. It will spread into the tree’s healthy branches if untreated.
To prevent this, cut out the diseased branches and immediately open the interiors of your fig.
2. Leaf Blight
Leaf blight or pellicularia kolerga is another disease common to fig trees. It is a fungus that assaults the leaves and causes yellow spots.
These spots are watery at first but dry out as they spread and progress, leaving a thin paper-like surface behind.
Affected leaves may turn brown and eventually die.
To prevent this, keep your tree sanitized. Remove the infected leaves as you see them and keep infected wastes off the ground.
3. Fig Rust
Fig rust is another disease common to figs. This fungus harms the figs by turning their leaves yellow-brown, causing them to become nimble.
This disease is not fatal, but it will weaken your plant in the long run. To prevent this, always remove fallen wastes and debris.
4. Root-Knot Nematodes
Root-knot nematodes are invisible roundworms that damage the root system of a fig tree.
It is very difficult to know for certain if your plant has root-knot nematodes because it mimics other root diseases.
You need to dig a few roots to identify if the root system has been blocked by swollen galls.
This disease is nearly impossible to kill because the roundworms use the plant’s tissues as their protection.
How Long Do Fig Trees Take to Grow and Bear Fruit?
When you plant fig trees outdoors or in the ground, it may take as long as 10 years before they produce fruits.
During these 10 years, they utilize all their resources to establish a healthy and strong root system before they focus their resources to bear fig fruits.
On the other hand, fig trees in containers only take four to five years after planting before bearing fruit.
It is well worth the effort to plant figs for their delicious, tasty fruits.
Fig fruits are so much more than just a great source of fiber. They are also known for their vanilla flavor, creamy texture, and colorful exterior.
Figs also help control diabetes. Imagine helping control diabetes while still tasting sweet as candy.
Lastly, keep in mind not to undervalue the attractive, scented plant that is an incredible addition to your garden, too.